There’s hope for a single language, or Smart Home Standard that all ecosystems and manufactures will use. Recently all the major players like Amazon, Google, and Apple announced a new project collaboration called Connected Home over IP. The goal of this project is to come up with a protocol, or language, that all of the major ecosystems will use.
Today, most companies build their devices to work with one of the big three ecosystems. However all three of these ecosystems have their own proprietary, or closed, ecosystems and languages. As a user, this is OK as long as you stay within the confines of one ecosystem. But if you try to mix Voice Assistants, like using Siri and Alexa in the same house, you’ll quickly discover that they don’t work together. At all.
Siri’s protocol doesn’t know how to talk to Alexa’s protocol, for example. It’s like one is speaking English, while the other is speaking Chinese. Getting either ecosystem to talk to one another is a slow, painful process—if its doable at all.
Using different protocols for each ecosystem also makes work harder for Smart Home manufactures. Because each protocol is different, manufactures need to understand and devote resources to supporting each ecosystem separately. Not only does this raise prices of Smart Home devices, but it also means each ecosystem can have a slightly different experience for the end user.
Ultimately, having a single Smart Home Standard for all ecosystems could make it easier for companies to enter into the Smart Home space, supplying newer devices and growing the field.
It could also drive down costs for users, as the work needed to support all ecosystems would be lower. Given that this project was just announced, it’s unlikely we’ll see any progress in the next year or so. Regardless, I’ll be watching closely and will alert you to any progress as it happens.